Friday, August 31, 2007

slippery when wet

I love watching the rain pelting down ferocious & unrelenting, wiping the dust & debris off the roads, sliding down the limestone roofs, making its way through the grooves to collect in underground tanks. A good pelting is what we need every so often. There's nothing more satisfying to Bermuda's residents than the sound of 'tank rain'. We are mollified knowing that the water trucks need not be called, because our tanks are not about to go empty anytime soon.

But what's unfortunate is the wail of ambulance or police sirens that most assuredly follows in the aftermath of the rainfall. Someone wasn't being cautious on the road. Be it a car or a scooter, maintaining the same above the limit speed while it's raining is neither practical nor sensible. The slippery effect on the roads here is only further enhanced by the 'race track' turns & the many dips that Bermuda's roads are made of. If only everyone would slow down when it's raining. And I mean EVERYONE!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

keep it down

For the past few nights, a whistling toad has parked itself right outside our window causing such a ruckus along with its friends, that it's enough to wake the dead from their peaceful slumber. Having the a/c on does not at all help in drowning out its high pitched 'whistles'. Obviously, this has affected our sleep. I have half a mind to get out there with a flashlight, find it & then 'mist' it with Baygon. But that would be too cruel. Have you seen these things? They are awfully cute, with their doe eyed look & their minute size. Forget their size & adorable factor, they are encroaching on my territory, right? Well, maybe not. They're just doing what they're programmed to do & it's not fair to 'eliminate' them, for we humans are the ones that have encroached upon their territory, right? For now I am stuck. I wish there was something I could do to relocate it. They say placing human hair around bulbs or prized plants keeps squirrels away. I wish there was a similar easy remedy like that for the tiny toads. Guess I'll have to wait until the cooler weather sets in for these little noisemakers to take the night off!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the hitchhiker

Ever since my move to Bermuda, I am acutely aware & alert of any tingly sensation on my skin. It's because of the bugs you see. While I may be an animal lover, I prefer not to have bugs crawling over me. I definitely don't like ant bites, so woe to any ant that finds itself on me. Death is instantaneous & imminent. I show no mercy! Driving with the window rolled down, leaves much room for bugs to get inside your car. Mostly this is a cause for concern after the sun goes down. So roll up those windows while driving at night. The roaches do fly over here! When driving or riding along on a scooter, helmets with visors are a good, sensible, practical investment. Don't skimp out on those visors. Trust!

But only in Bermuda can this happen driving with the windows down,
during the day & only to ME! Driving down South Shore Road yesterday with my right hand on the wheel, I felt something tingling on my arm. I expected it to be something small - a normal run of the mill bug. Boy, did I freak out when I looked down, for it was nothing small. IT was a bloody lizard. That's right! A lizard! It was probably on the car before I drove off, decided the wind was a bit to much on the top & so decided to park it self on my arm, mission impossible style. Arrgh! I was not prepared to have a lizard on my arm! Beetle, maybe. Ladybug, sure. But not a lizard! I would have taken a picture, but I was too busy letting out a yelp & shaking my arm out the window. Oncoming drivers must have thought I was exercising a new way of saying hello sans toots. (Bear in mind, I had to perform this ejection within a matter of nano seconds). I hope that lizard landed on something safe & didn't end up being road kill. In all my years living in Bombay & having lizards be a part of our home, I have never not once have had them land on me. Not even while I was asleep!

I did not quite get the reaction I was hoping for from Hubby when I informed him of my surprise hitchhiker. Such was his response:"Oh, you should have kept it, they're so cute." Umm where? The one thing I was trying to do was keep the wheel steady & keep the car in my own lane, all the while getting rid of the critter before it wiggled down my arm onto somewhere in the car. Can you imagine the pandemonium? We all know how terribly difficult lizards are to catch. And their tails break off if you do manage to get one by its tail. And I've heard their bites while not poisonous are definitely not without pain. So, yes pandemonium would be the right word. Sure, Hubby thinks I should have kept it BUT boy would I give a million bucks what his reaction would be if the lizard had to land on his arm, while he's driving. What would YOU do? Has anyone had this happen to them?

At the end of the day all I have to say is: WHY ME ?

Monday, August 27, 2007

baby boom part 2

I recently received an email with a picture of a 90 year old Indian farmer holding his new born son. Broken the Guinness World Record, they say. He already has 20 other children, numerous grandchildren & doesn't want to stop until he's reached 100 (assuming he's going to make it till then). Besides, at his age should he not be worrying about his heart? This is why India has a population crisis. We have 90 year olds still having children. His other explanation as to why he's sired & continues to sire is that he's irresistible & that women want him. (obviously Polygamy is not a concern nor an issue for him). And from the picture he was certainly no Brad Pitt or like any of those Bollywood actors. Far from it, actually. Well, he is pushing 91 & good looks start to deteriorate, even for men (take comfort ladies). In cases such as these, I think it's time to stop having children when you've already had a few & you're hitting, oh let's say 40?

Growing up, I was exposed to the family planning ads they ran on Indian TV about the limit of two children per family, although this was not & enforced, and obviously still isn't. It's just a guideline. After all India is a democracy & not a Communist regime like say, China, where the limit is one child per family & strictly enforced (I think). I haven't a clue as to what happens if you find yourself expecting a second.
Needless to say, we are in the midst of another baby boom era.

Everyone I know is either pregnant or has recently had a baby. There's so many babies going around. For Canada, this is great because they're trying very hard to up the population. This was a topic of conversation with my mother & especially fitting because she's from the post war baby boom era. I asked her to list who else she thought was pregnant - family, friends etc. After counting a few together, she got exasperated & said, "Well, I don't know. That's your generation. No one from my generation is pregnant." Seriously! I'd hope not Mom, for I think we'd be in even bigger trouble if that were the case.

And even here in Bermuda - there's lots of babies everywhere you look. Not the tourist babies but the resident ones.
Being such a small island, a common concern among the local expat population would be inbreeding. I never realised it but when you consider how many people of child bearing there are on the island that may share a common DNA strand, it's definitely a problem. I've heard that as a result, there is a high incidence of twins on the island. I'm not even sure if this is true. I tried looking this theory up but did not find much. Many locals that go away abroad for Undergrad studies meet their futures partners/spouses from different countries. A fair amount do decide to settle down on the island. While they do not attain Bermudian status right away, they are known as spouses of Bermudians (a post for another day). With the continuing increase of babies & influx of new residents (ex-pats included), Bermuda, like China & India, is soon going to be busting at the seams (yet another post for yet another day). But there's naught that can be done. Not for the short term, anyway.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the roof over our heads

With the onslaught of Hurricane ---, we have received calls & emails about how we're doing & whether we're alright. Many assume that any hurricane targeting the Caribbean is also affecting us. Not necessarily. Thankfully we're way up north & out of the danger zone. But in watching the news & reading the articles about how houses & people in Jamaica were severely affected, in particular, how tin corrugated roofs were blown off houses has left me a little appalled. Shouldn't all hurricane prone areas have fortified roofs? Ones that are seriously attached & not made of corrugated tin, but rather of cement or something equally hardier. The most damage that hurricanes inflict here on Bermuda homes are minimal, on segments of roofs. Rarely does an entire roof cave in or get blown off & if it does, then it's an attribution to shoddy workmanship or a compromise of quality. Of course, Jamaica is not the affluent island that Bermuda is, but shouldn't the Jamaican government be stepping in somewhat to ensure that all it's residents are habituating in stable homes?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

buckle up

I was once driving home in Toronto & stopped at a red light just in time to look over & see a father slowing down his minivan with his very young daughter in the front seat. She was probably about six. Violation #1. Children under 10 are not allowed in the front passenger seat. The deployment of an airbag in the event of an accident could suffocate or cause head trauma, in some cases causing death. This child was free & unrestrained in the front seat. That's right - no seatbelt. Violation #2. I cannot tell you how much this enraged me. It's one thing to not want to buckle up yourself. You alone are responsible for your own stupidity but to have to neglect that responsibility for a child is unacceptable. I looked over at the father, made eye contact, yanked my seatbelt a couple of times in an effort to warn him to buckle up his daughter. The look I must have given him was not very friendly (course it wasn't), for he promptly restrained her. I have to say that this father belonged to a particular minority group & was probably a recent immigrant. But how on earth could he have passed his Drivers' test & not have known about the seatbelt laws that specfically apply to children?

I've seen a driver (once again in Toronto) with an unrestrained child standing in the back only to have her not go out the windshield when he slammed hard on those brakes. What is it that saved the child? His hand that quickly sprung across the child's chest to hold her back. An accident like that was imminent & he was probably going no more than 10 kms. Crash testing shows that sudden stops & crashes at slower speeds are just as damaging. We are no safer unbuckled at slower speeds than we are at high speeds.

Here in Bermuda, the speed limit is 35 kms. The only time I see people adhering to that limit is while they see an approaching copper. I will not deny that I am one of those people. I don't speed excessively but at the same time I'm not about to go at Grandpa's pace, hold up traffic & have to suffer toots from behind. It's all about going with the flow of traffic. However, even at the speed limit, I have seen children unrestrained in the car (front & back seats). Do I dare enlighten them? It makes it challenging when you can't pull up along side, given most roads here are but one lane. Besides, as an expat, I don't know how well received my messages would be.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

how do you like them apples?

I was away last week - we had a fabulous trip to NY, this being my second trip. The first one was back in 2003 for about three days & I left feeling unimpressed. I failed to grasp why everyone was so gung ho about NY. All I could think was the subways were dirty & the streets were overcrowded with houses & people. And I grew up in Bombay - people & dirty cities should not be a problem for me. I have been spoiled though, living in cleaner cities like Dubai, Toronto & now Bermuda, which would explain why I was shocked that a North American city could even vaguely resemble Bombay.

My eyes were opened to NY's beauty this time around. Partly because we were older
, left to our own devices & toured the place ourselves, which we loved doing. The subways did not seem daunting at all this time around & those streets I once found too busy were now a shopping haven. NY is beautiful. Not because of the tragedy it has endured but for all the other things too. Once we got Central Park & Manhattan, I understood what all the hype was about. NY is much like Toronto but on a much grander scale. Big skyscrapers will only hold my attention for a few seconds. I am not dazzled or phased by NY's nor any other cities'. Sure, Times Square was electrifying & abuzz even at an ungodly hour, but all I could think of how many African villages could benefit from the power needed to light up the many billboards at Times Square, or perhaps how many CO2 emissions we could be cutting down on with the process of elimination! We visited ChinaTown, Little Italy & also made a trip to Jackson Heights (not far from our base). I went crazy in Little India & came home with lots of goodies, ones that I doubt are even available in Toronto.

What made this trip so much fun was spending time with Hubby's cousins & mine as well (at times individually
& then at times all at once). There were so many of them, a little older than the last time & so a lot more fun. It was also a bonus that our host (Hubby's cousin) knew all the shopping hotspots & bargain centers, was a delight to be around & had a three year old that kept us entertained & on our toes for much of the trip. Amid all the fun we didn't get to actually take the ferry over to Staten Island but there's always another time. And with the flights to NY from Bermuda slated at such bargain prices, the other time may come sooner than we think.

On a side note, here's a NY street sign that Hubby brought to my attention. Now what if this sign were planted right in Bermuda? Oh, I can see the outrage & the protests just about piling up on being unable to toot at their friends driving by. But imagine the money it would rake in for the city...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

cup match weekend

It's Wednesday & every one's happy. But it's no ordinary a Wednesday. This particular one, that signals the start of the long weekend, occurs once a year, every year. For two days starting tomorrow, the island is going to be shut down for a two day cricket cup match, featuring the East vs the West. That's right! Only in Bermuda is cricket taken so seriously. Well, perhaps some of this seriousness will translate the next time Bermuda participates in the cricket World Cup.

Officially, tomorrow is known as Emancipation Day (from slavery) & Friday as Somers' Day (named after the Father of Bermuda, Admiral Sir George Somers). Both these days mean days of fun at the beach, camping, music & food, and of course cricket.

Where do people go camping here on the island? Well, anywhere really. Pick a spot by the water (except the beach) & there's plenty of spots to be had. Although you'd best get in early for the choicest. Bring your family, your tents & your food. But most importantly if you're not planning on attending the Cup Match events, bring along your radio to keep abreast of the match, or you won't have anything to contribute to the cricket talk at the water cooler on Monday.

And in keeping with the standard greeting for today, I say to you Bermuda residents: Have a good holiday!